Maputo, Mozambique Report of what it's like to live there - 05/17/09

Personal Experiences from Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, Mozambique 05/17/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, we have lived in Kampala, Maseru, Yangon, Dhaka, and New Delhi.

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2. How long have you lived here?

3 years.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomat.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

Via Jo'burg and then direct to destinations in the US or Europe.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most expatriates live in lovely homes with swimming pools. There are beautiful apartments with views of the ocean if you prefer.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are readily available but expensive compared to costs in neighbouring South Africa.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Specialty brands that you like, toiletries, bedding, furniture and curtains if possible -- these things are very expensive here for poor quality.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is KFC but no other fast food chain. There are some very good seafood restaurants.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Malaria, bring your bug spray!

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Mail service is very unreliable. We only use the diplomatic pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Domestic help is available - nannies, cooks, drivers, cleaners. Each costing between $150-$200 per month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

ATMs are readily available and big stores accept credit cards.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

No English-Language newspapers but there is DSTV from South Africa (which has many English programs) and TV Cabo which has some.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It is very helpful to have some Portuguese.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are many potholes and the sidewalks are often non-existent. It would be very hard for someone with a wheelchair.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not safe.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4x4 if you plan on traveling outside Maputo

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available but expensive $100/month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We do not have a landline at our house but have provided cell phones for our children and house staff -- as they are more reliable.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

If you are coming through South Africa this can be a problem.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is one good vet in town that everyone seems to use - personally I have no experience.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

This is quite difficult if you do not have a strong language ability in Portuguese. There are teaching jobs available at the international schools for certified teachers.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Smart casual at work and very casual socially and in public - anything goes!

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good, you are living on the ocean.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Carjacking, house robbery and mugging on the streets are concerns. They seem to come in fits and spurts. Robbers are armed with guns.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is a concern in Maputo but South Africa is only 2 hours away and the care in Nelspruit is very good.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The weather is very hot during the months of January and February and incredibly pleasant the rest of the year. Sweatshirts are necessary in the evenings from May - Sept.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

AISM - American International School of Mozambique is an IB World school offering a high standard of education. They are currently running wait lists for many grade levels. There is also MIS - Maputo International School -- but I understand it is going through some administrative probelms at the moment

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are no special-needs services at AISM other than ESL for students in the early primary years.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are a few different options and most people have fulltime nannies.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Only through the after-school-activities program at school. Swimming and sailing are available outside school.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Growing bigger every day with the increase in aid money flowing into the country and foreign investment.

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2. Morale among expats:

Excellent.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Many dinner parties, jazz clubs, pool gatherings; it is a very social and relaxed community.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Excellent for families as there is the beach and sailing clubs. Much socializing happens around the school. For couples there is a lively jazz music/bar scene and some good restaurants.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The beaches are beautiful and their are many you can reach in a regular weekend. There is also very good diving. Kruger Park in South Africa is also just an hour's drive away and is fabulous.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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9. Can you save money?

It is expensive here for rent and food, so it truly depends on your package. We know people who are saving quite a lot and some who are saving nothing.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Definitely, it is a wonderful posting for families with young children .

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothes and formal wear.

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3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen, bathing suits, mountain bike, sailing equipment, BBQ tools, camping equipment, and sense of adventure.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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